...Sydney is hiding in the air ducts as McKenas Cole blasts away at the ceiling -- when suddenly, Jack appears and surrenders -- allowing Sydney to remain hidden. Sydney discovers a note left for her by her father, explaining the dire predicament: since Sloane has activated the fail-safe alarm, opening the SD-6 vault would trigger a fatal explosion. Before the intruders can hack the vault security code, Sydney must disarm three charges of C-4.
Meanwhile, Dixon, who was taken hostage by the intruders, manages to swipe a PDA from a desk, and secretly sends an e-mail to the CIA, alerting them of the attack. Vaughn gets the message and wants to send in help. But Agent Haladki, now in charge of the SD-6 case, refuses to send a rescue team without more proof of an attack.
Against official orders, Vaughn goes to Credit Dauphine and confirms the break-in. He calls Haladki, who again refuses to send help. Vaughn then meets up with Sydney and helps her disable the first charge of C-4. They split up to disarm the two remaining charges.
Along the way, Sydney knocks out two of the intruders... then, Cole realizes that someone is still loose in the building and broadcasts an order through the address system: if Sydney doesn't surrender, Cole will begin killing the hostages. He chooses Jack as the first victim, and Sydney surrenders -- before she can disarm the C-4.
After Sydney is taken hostage, Marshall signals to her that one of her earrings, lying on the floor, is actually a flash grenade. She detonates the device, overpowering the intruders in the ensuing chaos... Cole, however, remains free.
Meanwhile, Will Tippin continues to investigate SD-6. The key -- that was mysteriously left in his office -- leads him to a locker containing an autopsy report on David McNeil's wife. Her death was allegedly a suicide, but the new evidence suggests otherwise.
For her own safety, Will urges Kelly McNeil to go into hiding... If not, she might suffer the same fate as her mother.
At the CIA, Agent Weiss learns of the call from Vaughn to Haladki. Since all incoming calls are recorded, Weiss now knows that the attack on SD-6 is confirmed. A rescue team is immediately sent to prevent the unknown intruders from gaining access to the SD-6 vault. Jack discovers Sloane in the SD-6 torture room... Only Sloane can deactivate the fail-safe, but his fingerprint is needed as verification. As Jack struggles to free Sloane from the restraints, both men realize that time is running out...and the only way to save the SD-6... is to cut off Sloane's finger.
Using the bloody digit, Jack cancels the fail-safe order, seconds before Cole opens the vault. Once inside, Cole removes a small metal box, marked with the Rambaldi symbol -- <0>. As he tries to escape, Cole is defeated and captured by Sydney and the CIA rescue team.
Vaughn opens the metal box and finds... a small vial of clear solution.
SD-6 now believes that the break-in was successful, not realizing that the Rambaldi artifact is with the CIA. But mysteries remain. Who has McKenas Cole been working for? And what secrets will the mysterious liquid unlock..?